Athens - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called on his government on Monday to speed up the rate of austerity reforms as the indebted country geared up to return to financial markets next year.
Greece could test market confidence in the cash-strapped country by mounting a new government debt auction in the second half of 2014 if the nation manages to return to economic growth, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Monday.
“That would be a great success, which would allow us to test the market with a new bond issue in the second half of 2014,” Stournaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt.
He said that the size of the auction was likely to be small, perhaps less than 3 billion euros (4 billion dollars).
Greece has been stuck in a recession for six consecutive years as it battles to cut high debt and deficit levels through steep cuts in public spending and tough economic reforms.
Inspectors from the troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission are expected to travel to Athens at the beginning of September to determine whether the government is able to generate the revenue needed to meet its 2015-2016 budget targets.
Last week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble admitted that Greece would probably need a third bailout. Germany carried the bulk of the weight of the previous two rescue packages.
On Sunday, Stournaras agreed that a new bailout might be necessary, but the amount would be lower than previous aid packages.
“If there is a need for further support to Greece, it will be in the amount of about 10 billion euros,” newspaper Proto Thema quoted him as saying.
He also ruled out any new austerity conditions to be attached to the bailout.
Athens received its first bailout of 110 billion euros in May 2010, followed by another 140 billion euros in 2012.
Following its implementation of austerity measures, Greece is set to receive another bailout payment of 5.8 billion euros by the end of September. It will be eligible for another 1 billion euros in October if it meets the troika's conditions.
Stournaras joined other leading European figures, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in ruling out a second round of debt relief for Athens.
“Debt relief that results in us being in the same situation in five years time would be counterproductive and would send the wrong signal to countries receiving aid,” ECB governing council member Jens Weidmann told Handelsblatt Monday.
Weidmann is also head of Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank. - Sapa-dpa